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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can't Lose.

This is one of those times I have so much to say that I can't say anything at all.

Kyle and I have been devouring Friday Night Lights thanks to Amazon Prime and that's taking up a lot of my creative brain space because it's commandeering most of my free, childless, co-spoused time and it's so incredibly good that it kind of satiates a lot of my expressive need.

Basically you don't know how many times I've started this post and deleted everything because it was all just ending up a dissertation on the character analysis of the show from my personal experiences of growing up a football coach's daughter and my husband actually being from Texas (there's a tidbit of knowledge for you -- Kyle lived in Texas until he was eight or something and he does have the slightest of accents if you listen carefully for it) but since I'm -- what, at least three years late on this revelation of a show, I'm sparing you a lot of the adoring dribble that's swirling around my brain right now.

Suffice it to say you can add Kyle Chandler to this list. Like ever since Early Edition, if I'm to be completely honest. He fits the mold.

Anyway, this show has brought something more to the forefront of my mind though, as one of the more major subplots plays out through the second season, which we just finished last night.

For those of you who don't know, the coach and his wife, who have a teenage daughter and are in their mid to late thirties I'd imagine, miraculously (and unintentionally) get pregnant and have a baby girl and basically are new parents all over again while trying to parent said teenager and are thrown into a different world of parenting than what they experienced the first time around.

You guys, every time I see that baby on the screen, my uterus cries.

And that's surprised me a little, because while I know I'm not completely sold on the idea of being done having kids, I know that I am for the time being, kind of whether I like it or not. I've purged most of our baby stuff that I used to furiously hoard; I'm looking forward to Tova being in the state-run toddler program and the hopes of that developing into preschool by next year; I like having my body to myself and not having little creatures solely rely on it for life. I like that my kids can walk and I can ask them to do things and they generally do; I like hearing them learn to talk and realize that they have each other to play with and being able to leave the house with just a couple of diapers and some wipes and not enough luggage to go on a two-week backpacking trip across the Alps.

There's a lot I like about the freedom of having toddlers instead of babies.

But looking at that baby on the screen, which inevitably reminds me of my own children's babyhoods, makes me long to cuddle a newborn. It makes me miss three months when they start to interact with you, even if it's just excited kicking and flailing upon seeing you. I miss six months when they start to develop a personality and babbling to you, big eyes bright with promise and excitement at everything. I miss sitting up (but not crawling) and how it feels to have a child that fits in your arms without spilling over every which way or scrambling to get out of your grip because there are far more awesome things to do than be cuddled by your mommy.

So I sat with that for a while and really tried to understand the emotions and what that meant, because you know, I don't get pregnant on my own, and I wanted to really have a firm grasp on myself before I brought anything up with Kyle.

I realized that I think I just miss my kids' babyhoods. Because while having a baby is all kinds of awesome and great while also filled with tons of stress and complications, eventually they will become toddlers and then preschoolers and just like any person ever on the planet, they will get older, they will grow up, and someday they will be their own adult people and there's no way to reverse that, ever.

After Tova, I realized how much I missed with Kiedis' babyhood, which I'm sure is some of the guilt driving this urge to procreate. The painful, brutal truth here is that I can never have that back with him. No matter how many babies I manage to push out of my ladybits, I'm never going to get that time with my infant son back. I never get to redo it. I never get to make up to him everything that went wrong, take away every catastrophe we had to face, form that bond which felt impossible until he was damn near two years old.

And as for Tova, I don't get to relive that year. I don't get to go back and realize how awesome motherhood can be when you have actual support and and a healthy baby and serenity and clarity and the wisdom that comes from surviving everything I, we, have.

Having a new baby will not bring any of that back, not really. It would be a new baby with their own new struggles and complications and ups and downs and personality and adaptations and it would change the dynamic here that's pretty much been working for us for a while now, and it would just be like a giant countdown in the background loudly ticking away the time until that baby, too, would leave infancy behind and become a toddler and begin the journey of becoming their own person separate from me.

And that's if that baby was healthy and normal. I can't even think about if it wasn't. While I might be better prepared to handle it, having two legit special needs kids would change everything forever, and that's a pretty large gamble to make from where we sit.

I still think about the babies I thought I'd have, the dark-haired children I believed would be my legacy in the world, and I wonder if they're in there somewhere, waiting for a chance to (finally) become real, and I do so with a bittersweet longing because maybe, maybe they never will and that has to be okay because I have two  light-haired children who are pretty damn awesome, if nothing at all like I imagined them to be.

So this was an unexpected side effect of trying to just enjoy some pop culture, but it's definitely given me something to walk around with a while.

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